ERIC Number: EJ813456
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 209
Bilingualism, Biculturalism, and the Cisco Kid Cycle
Keller, Gary D.
Bilingual Review, v28 n3 p195-231 Sep-Dec 2004-2007
The Cisco Kid was born over 100 years ago in 1907 from the pen of the genial and bilious author O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910). He is still going strong both in film and television. Before 1913, the year when films became long features, dozens of short films were based on the character. After 1913, feature films either used the actual name of the Cisco Kid or occasionally, as in the case of "The Arizona Kid" (1930), were modeled on the character using a thinly disguised name in order to avoid copyright issues. Scores of Cisco Kid television episodes have been produced, and the character has been the subject of radio shows, popular songs, comic books and pulp fiction, and a wide range of toys and collectible products. A full treatment of the Cisco Kid cycle requires an entire book, and this is precisely what Nevins and Keller have completed in "The Cisco Kid: American Hero, Hispanic Roots," which will be published in late spring 2008. The book references historical social bandits such as Pancho Villa as well as other fictional noble bandits of popular culture including Zorro, Joaquin Murrieta, the Bandit Queen, and Anita Delgado, the Avenging Angel. This article, while the author refers briefly to other aspects of the Cisco Kid, focuses on the bilingual and bicultural nature of the character, which has been a constant, despite enormous changes in his ethnic identity and relationship to the law. It particularly focuses on three stations in the transcourse and discourse of the Cisco Kid: (1) his birth in the form of O. Henry's short story, "The Caballero's Way"; (2) his 1928 appearance in "In Old Arizona," which won an academy award for Warner Baxter for the first sound interpretation of Cisco on the silver screen; and (3) his acquisition of Chicano traits "avant la lettre"--as a character set in the Mexico of Benito Juarez during the French Intervention of the 1860s--in the elaboration by Luis Valdez and interpretation by Jimmy Smits for the HBO-funded television film "The Cisco Kid" (1994).
Descriptors: Ethnicity, Popular Culture, Biculturalism, Television, Films, Bilingualism, Literary Devices, Role Models, Hispanic American Culture, Code Switching (Language)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A